Remember when Bill English signed a Ministerial Warrant on behalf of John Key in a last-ditch attempt to stop the GCSB’s illegal spying on Kim Dotcom from becoming public? Remember how, laughably, GCSB, Key and English said they didn’t know the spying was illegal when they got the warrant, and the warrant was routine? Did you wonder ‘what’s a Ministerial Warrant?’ I did. I’d never heard of one. Well, the Greens investigated. Now, it turns out there’s only been one issued in at least a decade.
So, this wasn’t just some routine thing that Prime Ministers and Acting Prime Ministers routinely sign from time to time. This was a power that had probably never been invoked in the experience of any of the officials, let alone the experience of the people meant to be controlling them. I imagine it took the GCSB quite a bit of effort to even work out what a Ministerial Warrant should look like because they had no model to draw on (GCSB says they know none have been issued in at least a decade, but don’t mention knowing of any being issued before that either).
Are we meant to believe that this extraordinary action was completed by simply passing a piece of paper under English’s nose and he didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow, let alone inform Key, and that the GCSB staff didn’t feel compelled, in the absence of such pro-activity by English to explain to him and Key what the Warrant was and why it was needed?
And, doesn’t this just make you ask again, what is so special about the Dotcom case? Why the armed raid? Why was GCSB involved at all? Why did everyone choose to ignore the obvious illegality of their involvement? Why did Key display a remarkable lack of interest about the wealthiest person in his electorate? Why did the GCSB dig up a power that no-one can recall being used to try to suppress involvement that they claim they thought was legal at that time? Why did English and Key turn as little attention as possible to all this?
What’s really going on?